Wilson “Boozoo” Chavis Interview

Boozoo rose to great popularity in his second musical career in 1984, rocking dancehalls all over the country. He had had a bad experience when he first recorded in 1954 and didn’t record again until thirty years later when he started playing dances again. I drove the hour and a half to his house in Doghill, near Lake Charles, and when I arrived at his house Boozoo was riled up, telling me I was late, yelling from the doorstep! His wife Leona came out and told him he was confused and he settled down for a nice long talk. Later he showed me some of the race horses he raised. I took photos and drank coffee with them.

– Ann Savoy

  • Wilfred Latour, 1988 00:00
Interviewee: Wilson “Boozoo” Chavis
Interviewer: Ann Savoy
Date: July 7, 1986
Location: Eunice, LA
Language: English

This is an interview originally recorded for research purposes. It is presented here in its raw state, unedited except to remove some irrelevant sections and blank spaces. All rights to the interview are reserved by the Arhoolie Foundation. Please do not use anything from this website without permission.

Statement on the passing of Chris Strachwitz

Arhoolie Records Founder
July 1, 1931 – May 5, 2023

We celebrate the life of our founder, friend, and great record man Chris Strachwitz. He died peacefully at home in Marin County, CA, surrounded in his last days by dear friends and family. Over his 91 years, Chris captured the music that represents the best “down home music” the world has to offer.

He was at the forefront of nearly all the roots revivals over the last 60 years including blues, zydeco, Cajun, Norteño and Tejano music. His drive to document traditional music helped introduce the nation to our diverse musical heritage. He had the foresight to save music that might have otherwise been lost to obscurity and played a role in strengthening cultural traditions through his records, films, and most recently the Arhoolie Foundation. He cared for those around him, fought for royalties and recognition for Arhoolie artists, and provided counsel to countless musicians, writers, film makers, and academics.

Plans for a public celebration of his life will be announced in the coming weeks. Today we’re thinking of all that Chris brought to our lives and the lives of the musicians and fans with whom he shared his passion.